Meet the Speakers

Abrie Venter, Managing Director – SimGenics

Abrie Venter is the Managing Director of SimGenics and has 20 years of experience in the development of Control Room and Field Training Simulators for a range of industries.  He oversaw the development of SimGenics’ SimuPACT and 3D PACT Software Platforms and continues to expand the ways that both platforms use simulation techniques to solve problems and improve operations for a range of industries. 

Abrie holds degrees in Electrical Engineering and Information Systems and started his career at Eskom’s Lethabo Power Station in South Africa.  After 5 years he left Lethabo to start his own business and worked as a consultant in both the fossil and nuclear power generation industries for 5 years before co-founding SimGenics and focusing full time on the development of Engineering and Training Simulators. 

Andrew Scott, Host & Lead Robotics and Automation, Prominent Hill – BHP

Andrew has been involved in the mining innovation arena since the very beginning of his career over 30 years’ ago. Having studied biotechnology and computer science at the University of Queensland, he was drawn to the mining industry as a means of funding his ongoing study. As a young field assistant, he quickly found himself fulfilling the role of “go-to” person for any new technology that needed to be investigated or implemented. If ever he felt that a position within a company wasn’t giving him technology exposure, Andrew discovered that he would engineer himself into those roles. One example is when Michelle Ash became Chief Innovation Officer at Barrick, he made sure that he was on her team delivering on their digital strategy as Senior Director Innovation.  

Andrew was at the beginning of GMG becoming the first GMG Incoming Chairman, with Tim Skinner as Chairman, to then follow Tim as Chairman, Outgoing Chairman and Working Groups Chair and thoroughly enjoys working with motivated and passionate people to improve the industry through collaboration, guidelines, and innovation.  

As Senior Director, Innovation/Digital Mining at Barrick, Andrew had the scope of providing technology support for the entire mining process, which includes everything from exploration, feasibility, construction, production, reconciliation, through mine closure.  

Ultimately Andrew is focused to make the world a better place through innovation and appropriate use of technology! Develop deep symbiotic collaboration to stimulate, promote and realize positive outcomes for humanity and the planet earth. 

Cherie Burgett, Director of Cyber Intelligence Operations – MM-ISAC

Public Speaker, Theologian, and ISAC Operations, Director. As the Director of Cyber Intelligence Operations for the Mining and Metals Information Sharing Analysis Center (MM-ISAC), Cherie Burgett leads the ISAC’s cyber intelligence program, enables sharing and coordinates responses to active threats. She provides the link between the public and private sector, and supports companies to develop strategies as they undergo digital transformation. 

Christian Teffo, Deputy Head: Techno Economics, Minerals Council South Africa

Christian Teffo is employed as a Deputy Head: Techno Economics by the Minerals Council and has worked there for 14 years. He is a Mining Engineer by qualification, holds a BTech Degree in Mining, Graduate Diploma Engineering in Mineral Economics and a Mine Managers Certificate of Competency. He has a total of 25 years’ experience in the Chrome/Gold/Diamonds mining industry. His last position at the mines was Manager: Mining. Christian is also a Director of the Mines Rescue services and Road Transport Management System.  

Cobus Oosthuizen, Vice-President, Digital Industries (Acting) & Head of Process Automation, Siemens (South Africa)

With more than 35 years of experience in the Technology space Cobus Oosthuizen holds the position of Country Manager and Managing Director for Siemens Digital Industries Software for Africa and Middle East.

In his role, Cobus is focused on Driving the Strategic direction of the business in the region, managing the P&L for the region as well as growing and developing the people in the team to maximize the growth and business potential for the region.

Cobus is an Entrepreneur / Businessman / Mechanical Engineer who loves to help people to grow, develop and reach their full potential. He started his career in the Test and Simulation space, specifically for Iron ore mining and production. He moved into the consulting space to assist companies to establish engineering technologies to drive technology growth and Digital Transformation. He has a long history of promoting, selling and implementing digital solutions in the engineering, manufacturing and operational space and has been involved in the software industry for the last 30 years.

Cobus holds an Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pretoria and a Masters degree in Business Leadership from UNISA.

Cobus is also passionate about Photography and outside of work he enjoys Kayaking, Hiking and Fly fishing.


Dushendra Naidoo, MOSH Principal Adoption Team Specialist – Transport and Machinery – Minerals Council South Africa

Mr. Naidoo’s career began at the CSIR’s Mining Technology Division as a Research Engineer where he was involved in a variety of research projects including underground mine support design, Mine Health and Safety Council projects and technology driven initiatives for over 5 years. He obtained a merit award for successful project outcomes for a mining project at the CSIR. This was followed by 5 years in the manufacturing arena at Joy Mining Machinery as a Senior Mechanical Engineer where he led aspects of a special project that involved developing a hard rock continuous cutting machine and obtained a design patent for the rock breaking system.  

He has been involved in projects that include: the design and construction of the first vertical lime kiln in Zambia, the design of a rotary cascade sugar dryer for a Client in Thailand and a brief involvement in a major expansion project at Tronox Minerals Sands. His passion for training young engineers and design led to him winning the first phase of the Isidingo Drill Challenge that was an initiative hosted by the Mandela Mining Precinct. He is now the Principal Adoption Specialist for the Minerals Council’s MOSH Transport and Machinery Team for over a year to date where is able to express his passion for engineering, safety and the mining industry through the many safety initiatives that he is responsible for. 

Mr. Naidoo is admired by his peers as being an innovative, creative lateral thinker who always believes in the power of positive thinking and exemplifies this in his work ethic and personal life.

Gary Conway, Head of Enterprise Energy – MEA and India, Nokia

Gary is Nokia’s Head of Energy Segment Sales for Middle East, Africa, India and China, based in Dubai; his team is serving customers in the Energy, Mining, Oil and Gas & Utility Sector, by helping them address challenges taking place in their environments, like safety, the need for efficiencies and productivity, addressing legacy and regulatory challenges, using technology to transform networks to business IR4.0. 

Gary has over 20 years’ experience in Enterprise Sales providing solutions for clients in the UK, Middle East and for the last 10 years in APAC & Australia, including a global 1st – the 1st Private LTE solutions in the Energy sector for automation in Mining.  

Gary moved back to Dubai in November 2020, he provides customers with solutions on how information and communications technology is now a strategic enabler in addressing these challenges.   

Gary works with Nokia product and services teams building solutions for these important customers, enabling them to strengthen their businesses and address the rapid changes and developments in their respective markets. 

Outside of the office, Gary can be found in the kitchen. As a passionate amateur chef, Asian food, especially Indian cuisine is his specialty. 

Gerrie Bezuidenhout T&S Group Projects, Anglo American

Gerrie is a Registered Professional Mining Engineer with over 20 years’ experience as a Project Manager and Engineer involved in technology projects. He currently is the Portfolio Manager for Collision Prevention systems in Anglo American. This Project included vehicle interaction control effectiveness baseline mapping and the evaluation of technology available in the industry and technical review of respective suppliers and technologies. This Project encompassed the testing of Level 9 compliant technologies at respective mines in Anglo Platinum, Kumba Iron Ore and De Beers.

Gerrie holds a BTech Mining Engineering qualification from University of Johannesburg and is a member of SAIMM. He started his career at JCI and has worked for Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology South Africa and Epiroc South Africa respectively and has experience in development of mining products. In the latter part of his career he worked for Worley as a Mining Consultant and Project Manager on various Mining Projects from feasibility studies to execution projects.

Gerrie is passionate about mining and projects for advancing technology in the mining equipment sector and has made significant contributions to the industries safety and technology transformation.

Henk Jenkinson, Simulation Specialist – 4Sight OT | Simulation

Henk Jenkinson is a Simulation Specialist at 4Sight OT | Simulation, a consulting company specialising in creating computer simulation models of complex systems to test system alterations in a digital environment to prevent unnecessary capital expenditure. 

Henk is an industrial engineer with an Honours Degree in applied science: industrial systems from the University of Pretoria.  He has a vast level of expertise in the development of- and project management of mining and logistical models.  He has been actively involved in computer simulation since 2012 and is passionate about problem-solving using computer simulation.  He enjoys the challenge of using creativity and teamwork to find solutions to complex problems.   

He has used his expertise to help numerous mining companies make breakthroughs using simulation technologies.   Henk actively uses advanced simulation technologies to test the feasibility and optimization areas to deploy Battery-Electric Vehicles in mines in order to minimize risk to mining clients. 

Kumeshan Naidu, Global Digital Portfolio Manager, Epiroc

Kumeshan Naidu is a seasoned professional with over 14 years of experience in the technology and heavy equipment industry. He holds a Master of Philosophy degree in International Business from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science. In addition to his business acumen, Kumeshan possesses a strong engineering background, with qualifications including a Master of Engineering in Mechanical and a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. 

Currently serving as the Global Digital Portfolio Manager at Epiroc, Kumeshan effectively aligns and manages a comprehensive digital portfolio encompassing in-house technologies and acquisitions. In his role as Integration Manager M&A, Technology and Digital, he successfully led the acquisition and integration of MineRP into the company’s digital portfolio. 

Prior to this, Kumeshan held key positions at Epiroc South Africa and Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology South Africa, where he drove the implementation of cutting-edge automation and digitalization technologies across mining operations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Kumeshan’s notable accomplishments include developing end-to-end digital solutions, implementing ISO 21815-compliant collision avoidance solutions, and fostering a solution mindset within organizations. 

 With a proven track record and a passion for advancing technology in the heavy equipment sector, Kumeshan continues to make significant contributions to the industry’s digital transformation. 

Letisha van den Berg, Director, ASPASA Small Surface Mine Association 

Letisha van den Berg dedicated over two decades to the small surface mining and construction sector.  She gained extensive knowledge in various aspects of small surface mining operations and construction projects.  She worked tirelessly to ensure that safety protocols are followed, environmental regulations are adhered to, and operations work in unity with all other Departments. 

Through her career, she has played a pivotal role in advocating for the small surface mining industry.  She believes in the importance of giving a voice to this sector, which often goes unrecognised in the larger landscape of mining and construction. 

She actively engages with industry stakeholders, governmental bodies, and trade organisations to represent the interest of small surface mining businesses and ensure their concerns are heard and addressed. 

Development and sharing of knowledge are key focus areas in her current role. She constantly looks for collaboration opportunities to enhance networking to expand the horizons of the industries. 


Mornay Walters, CISO / VP Cyber Safety – AngloGold Ashanti

Mornay is the current CISO and Vice President for Cyber Safety at AngloGold Ashanti. His portfolio encompasses all aspects of cybersecurity throughout the organization, aligning with AngloGold Ashanti’s core value of Safety. 

Prior to joining AngloGold Ashanti in 2017, Mornay accrued over 20 years of experience in the cybersecurity industry, including specialized projects for the Intelligence community. 

Mornay is dedicated to promoting cyber health and safety within the industrial sector, recognizing the existential threat that cyber poses to any organization. In addition, he serves as a coach to a number of young security start-ups where time allows. 


Patronella Mocholo, Principal Engineer Mobile Equipment and Technology, Exxaro Resources

Patronella Mocholo is a Principal Engineer Mobile Equipment and Technology for Exxaro Resources and has served in this capacity for 5 years. Patronella has over 18 years mining industry experience in different commodities and has held various management positions including engineering MHSA legal appointments within the mining value chain. In her mining career Patronella has been responsible for different stages of collision prevention projects for different operations (underground and surface). Her latest project has been the CPS implementation for the different Exxaro operations. 

Patronella holds a Government Certificate of Competency Mechanical (Mines & Works), Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Graduate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from Wits University. 


Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation – Boliden

Born in 1964, Mr. Burman holds a Master of Science and M.B.A. Since 2012, he has been Project Manager in the Mine Automation Program. After working for Boliden 1988-1995 he left for the telecom business. During 17 years at Ericsson and Ascom he worked in various positions including R&D manager and Business Area Manager. In 2015, he was appointed to Program manager for the whole mine automation Program.

In addition to his role at Boliden, Mr. Burman also coordinates Boliden’s contacts with several European universities and research organizations.

Rob Labbé, Founding Chair – MM-ISAC

Rob Labbé is an accomplished senior executive with more than 20 years of success across the IT security industry, within mining, software development, telecommunications, retail, oil & gas, manufacturing and healthcare. Leveraging extensive experience in cyber security risk management and critical infrastructure, he is a valuable advisor for an organization that is concerned around the security of their manufacturing or industrial networks, needing to enable a digital transformation. 

Rob’s broad areas of expertise include risk management, building diverse cyber security teams, vendor management, training, and professional development. Throughout his executive career, Rob has held leadership positions with Microsoft, Fidelis IT inc. and Teck Resources Limited, and is currently Chair of the Mining and Metals Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MM-ISAC). 

Rowan Dickason, Senior Vice President, Digital Industries (Acting) & Head of Process Automation, Siemens (South

With 25 years of experience in the Automation and Drive Technology space, Rowan Dickason holds the position of Senior Vice President (Acting) for Siemens Digital Industries Sub-Saharan Africa and Vice President for the Process Automation Business Unit in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In his role, Rowan is focused on driving the strategic direction of the business in the region, managing the P&L as well as growing and developing the people within the organisation to maximize the growth and business potential and success for the region.

Rowan is a businessman and Electrical Engineer who loves to help, grow and develop people to reach their full potential. He started his career as a Service and Commissioning Engineer on Variable Speed Drives. He moved into the Sales and Marketing space in promoting Variable Speed Drives and Electric

He started his management experience in the Motion Control world before moving to the world of Process Automation where he spent four years in Germany with Siemens in Regional Management looking after the Process Automation Business for the USA and Canada.

Rowan has been running the Process Automation Business Unit for the last four and a half years with a focus on SIMATIC PCS 7, Process Instrumentation, SCALANCE Networks and the PA Software Portfolio.

He holds a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the old Port Elizabeth Technikon (Nelson Mandela University) and attended the Siemens Management Excellence Program at GIBS.

Rowan is passionate about Sport (Rugby, Cricket, Tennis and Golf) and he enjoys Woodwork and Model building.

Schalk Janse van Rensburg, General Manager – Mernok (Collision Avoidance)

Schalk Janse van Rensburg, born on 7 October 1980 in Nylstroom, South Africa, is an accomplished professional known for his expertise in electronic engineering and his innovative contributions to the mining industry. He obtained his degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Pretoria in 2003, showcasing his dedication and passion for his chosen field. 

With an open-minded approach and a strong sense of values including respect, responsibility, and fairness, Schalk embarked on his professional journey. He began his career at Denel Dynamics, where he gained valuable experience and honed his technical skills. Later, he joined Battery Electric, where he was introduced to the mining industry, sparking his interest in revolutionizing safety practices within the sector. 

In 2008, Schalk founded his own company, Mernok Elektronik, aiming to create cutting-edge solutions for the mining industry. His most notable achievement was the design of Maxus, an HMI (Human-Machine Interface) product that revolutionized collision avoidance in mining equipment. This ground-breaking technology played a significant role in enhancing safety standards within the industry. 

Today, Mernok Elektronik stands as one of the leading suppliers of PDS Proximity Detection Systems (also known as CPS – Collision Prevention Systems). Schalk Janse van Rensburg’s vision and dedication continue to shape the mining industry, ensuring the safety and well-being of workers in this challenging field. 

Outside of his professional achievements, Schalk is happily married since 2007 and has two children aged 14 and 12, who bring joy and fulfilment to his personal life.